August 16, 2014 at 6:30 pm #32112
Went to purchase my first Briggs & Stratton LO206 this weekend from a reputable Briggs motorsports dealer and found out that the supposedly most economical way to race competitively in Canada may not necessarily be the B&S LO206 after all, for one thing they can’t be bought at any Briggs dealer they must be purchased from an aforementioned motorsports dealer and it must have a Canadian maple leaf stamped into the block to be accepted for ASN sanctioned races, then the entire ruse about fair and equal racing went out the Window with the dealer asking me if I wanted to race at club level, regional level or national level all of a sudden the affordable LO206 went from $999.00 for club level to $1500.00 for regional level and finally and brace yourself for this and whopping $2700.00 to purchase a national level engine, WHAT HAPPENED TO AFFORDABLE RACING, apparently they start with 25 engines and then strip them down,where allowable, to hand pick various components that fit together with closer tolerances to theoretically produce more powerfull entries and then reassemble the remaining components into the two other categories, so much for the WONDERFUL BRIGGS PROGRAM.
August 17, 2014 at 6:07 am #32128
Clark Gaynor Sr.Participant
Wow! I’d stop by your local track and speak with some of the other 206 competitors and run your story by them. Something just doesn’t seem right there. That seems like one of the all time best snake oil sales jobs I’ve ever heard.
Keep us informed if you don’t mind.
August 17, 2014 at 11:19 am #32157
good morning Clark,……i have checked with several sources however in this part of Ontario we are limited to just a few since the decision to allow only Briggs motorsport franchises access to the LO206 program resulted in somewhat of a monopoly , if you check the results of the ECKC championship series certain names come in first place consistently and those names are in one form or another either directly sponsored by or are owners of a Briggs motorsports franchise, i am reluctant to name names directly because we are a close knit community up here and have limited choices when it comes to purchasing equipment as i kind of pointed out by mentioning the Briggs monopoly.
My point is this, we were all quite content racing with our Honda GX classes until the rug was pulled out from under us, the LO206 concept was good in principle but the idea that it would make karting more appealing to the newcomers and at the same time more affordable for the seasoned competitor is false, i have researched the Briggs class with all levels of competitors from club level to national level and arrived at the conclusion that its no less expensive than the Honda classes it was designed to replace with the one exception that the crank case is sealed other than that the front runners are all purchasing or having supplied to them large quantities of Briggs LO206’s with which to experiment and hand pick ideal components into one of the three categories i mentioned previously, although the intent of the series creators was sincere it is evident that in order to be competitive one must acquire several engine packages , most i’ve talked to bought five but the contenders received 25 , from which to assemble a seasons worth of engines capable of running at the front, i suppose my argument is this , as a grandfather i was looking for an engine that could serve as the entire family from myself down through my son, daughter and finally their children which the LO206 can do however the Briggs & Stratton advertising boast that this package created a level playing field at a reduced cost couldn’t be farther from the truth, certainly they would argue that they can’t control what the big teams will do but in their advertising they also mentioned that the program was greeted with great success in the Canadian marketplace to which i say do your research before you make the leap because the Briggs is no cheaper that the Honda GX series and those that have an investment in that program will be far better served by staying there because its not sealed and you can recycle parts indefinitely and regrettably the same can not be said about the LO206, i’m just glad i did my homework beforehand and i would suggest others do the same, i have nothing against Briggs however its not the be all to end all that they claim.
August 18, 2014 at 1:08 pm #32236
I am not a professional, but I have been around karting long enough to see new comers come and go because of stories like this. The same people are going to win at these higher end races if they had one of these so called matched perfect engines your claiming they have (days of thunder movie comes to mind). They have the seat time, they have the experience of setup, and they know how to plain make the whole package work!! A small gain in HP is going to help in racing , but its not going to keep you there week in and week out if your not on YOUR game. So saying you HAVE to pay that much for a matched engine does not hold water in the world of racing. The whole package is consistence. Horsepower is hit and miss for good finishes.
August 18, 2014 at 4:28 pm #32240
This is good food-for-thought Glenn. I’m thinking of going LO206 for a year to relax a bit.
I agree with Timothy but I also agree with the old saying, speed is money. The practice of buying a pile of engines and cherry-picking the cream of the crop isn’t new, and when an entry-level class like LO206 is being run at the National level where the money is then this is going to happen to the class. Even if it weren’t running Nationals someone’s always going to try to find a way within the rules to make their motor faster. That being said if you’re just going to race club then who cares what the rich guys do? Buy a “club-level” motor, some oil and a couple sets of tires and go race affordably.
Locally in Vancouver since the demise of the World Formula LO206 and TKM are our only 4-cycle options and most of the guys that race them can’t afford to buy 25 motors, so how good or bad your motor is is just a lottery and the playing field is level.
That dealer of yours sounds a little shady though. I’d want a race package in the box that hasn’t been tinkered with. I don’t want all the “bad” parts that he pulled from the “good” motors and used to make a Frankenstein’s Motor.
#43 - Formula K FK01 / Briggs LO206
West Coast Kart Club
August 18, 2014 at 6:31 pm #32247
Thanks to both Timothy and Evan you both have valid points, i suppose my complaint is that with such a limited source locally you would hope to have access to a fresh motor out of the box but when two of the three suppliers basically made the same offer with similar pricing you lose faith in the system and wonder how this was any help whatsoever in replacing a series that was deemed too expensive to sustain for the average competitor, Evan i know you folks out west have had a long standing relationship with Briggs and never really embraced the Honda GX series in the fist place but out east everyone was quite content with the program and would still be if the ASN hadn’t interfered by scrapping the Honda rule set, their reason was to bring some equality to the playing field while introducing an entirely new platform in an attempt to prevent a relatively small group of individuals from having a stranglehold on the engine building business and after this past weekend iv discovered that the game has remained the same but with a different name much to my deep disappointment , during my research i happened upon a forum in the now defunct ekartingnews.ca that had more than a few contributors that said this is exactly what would happen and that the engine builders would find a way around the new limitations within the Briggs rule set and within the first season it would be business as usual ,i guess i was naive enough to by into Paul Cookes reasoning behind the change to Briggs, i wouldn’t be so perturbed if i hadn’t been asked the same question by all three suppliers which was “how much do you want to win” so all that has been accomplished is the money is now going into a different persons pocket , and Evan you are correct we just have to buy the Briggs and hope for the best i’m just going to have to buy out of province to find an honest dealer.
August 19, 2014 at 10:19 am #32286
And therein lies the problem. Perhaps the intent of the program was honest, but a few bad apples take an otherwise level playing field and tilt it. Status quo.
#43 - Formula K FK01 / Briggs LO206
West Coast Kart Club
August 19, 2014 at 2:26 pm #32301
I am quite certain that if Briggs Racing found out that a dealer was trying to sell you a $2700 ‘National-level’ LO206, they’d lose their dealership. We’re talking about an engine that is ridiculously well-built and dyno’d to be within the strictest of HP tolerances. That said, in this category, the motor plays almost NO role in performance. It’s all about the driver and the chassis set-up. The guys who run upfront and there because they’re the best drivers with the best set-up…plain and simple.
Last year, I pulled two engines out of their boxes and bolted them on. I finished fifth in Masters at the Canadian Nationals at Goodwood and I finished eighth at the Rock Island Grand Prix in LO206 Senior. And I’m an out-of-shape 45-year-old who races 4-6 times a year. No special engines, no hand-picked parts. I was pleased with my performances and I only failed to perform better because of my driving and my chassis set-up. That is the bottom line.
I also race a Honda at the WRKC and I think I’ve got good engines. But I also think that the Briggs LO206 is a better program.
Don’t be fooled by the ‘national level’ engine scam. Buy an LO206, bolt it on, and focus on driver development and chassis set-up.
Rob Howden - eKartingNews.com Publisher / Editor - @RobHowden
August 19, 2014 at 4:33 pm #32310
Yeah, sounds like a load of BS to me. Here in the states, the LO206 is a stock class. Period. The blocks are sealed, and once that seal has been cut, the engine is no longer eligible for competition. It’s not like Rotax where you can cherry pick the best parts, and then have an authorized dealer reseal the engine to make it legal. So far, performance from engine to engine thas been incredibly even across the board around here.
S2 Semi-Pro Stock Moto - SKUSA Rocky Mountain ProKart Challenge
August 25, 2014 at 11:09 am #32574
Glenn, it sounds to me like you’re a club racer. Just buy a LO206, pull it out of the box, mount it on the frame and go.
1. Believe me, the difference between a “club” vs. a “national” LO206 won’t even be felt by the average club racer – the same cannot be said for the difference between a “club” and a “national” Honda GX, where you’re talking over a second per lap on many tracks.
2. Coming from some very reputable people (in Western Canada), who have accumulated numerous LO206’s in the effort to put the rumours to bed, the gap between a “fast” one and a “dud” has generally been found to be about 0.3 of a second. Yes, at the national level, that’s huge. Even a top-level club racer will probably be disappointed with that. But for the average club racer, it’s not going to make any real difference. Again, comparing with the Honda GX program, we’re still much closer with the LO206 program.
3. You started out by saying the most economical way to race in Canada my not be the LO206. Let me just say that if you think a $2,700 “national” LO206 engine is expensive, then don’t even bother asking about what a fast Rotax Max will cost you.
Bottom line, buy an engine in a box, open it up and race it. I’m sure you can find one in the East. If not, I’ll gladly refer you to several people in the West who’ll ship one to you.
August 28, 2014 at 9:42 pm #32821
Good evening Rob,……that’s actually what I did, I found a used package for $800.00 with one race on it and purchased an inferno flame clutch to top it off and have been burning rubber for a week or so now, we are in short supply of motorsports dealers in this area and I was lucky enough to find a lightly used, one race, one practice engine fro a young chap just a few miles from my home funny enough, I am very pleased with the outcome and since I’m on the heavy side of life tye added torque is appreciated coming out of the turns, there still aren’t many clubs with the exception of Goodwood that are embracing the Briggs program in this immediate area but I think it is only a matter of time so my circle of old farts will continue to run our GX200’s until the switch is made and by then I will have all the adjustments worked out on the LO206, I would like to thank everyone for their input just the same.
August 29, 2014 at 9:25 am #32834
Glenn, I can understand the frustration of the people in Eastern Canada who were heavily invested in the old Honda GX program. Nobody can deny the success of that program – the numbers say it all. But success and numbers doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s still the best option in today’s world.
While the East was heavily invested in the GX program, it was actually the West where the inherent problems with the GX program were witnessed. The GX program never really caught on in the West. There were small pockets of racers here and there, but even the ones who had strong results with the GX in the West were always looking for alternatives because they found that the strong results came at a cost that made no sense for “entry-level” 4-cycle racing.
As a result, the West has seen different clubs adopt almost every alternative 4-cycle class imaginable – clones built to varying levels of “ASN-GX specs”, modified clones, World Formulas, Animals, TKM, etc. While none of these were “great” solutions, at least they were viewed as better than spending $2500 (not at all uncommon) for a competitive, but still slow GX engine (“ASN clones” being cheaper, the others being faster).
The West is still having troubles getting any significant numbers in 4-cycle, but that’s really no different than karting in general in the West right now. Aside from the 2 clubs in Alberta (one of which has had no track this year), karting participation is low in the West. But, if you look at the 2 Alberta clubs, a large part of their growth is coming from the LO206 program because it’s not only cheap to get into (to GET people into the seat in the first place), but it’s simple and cheap to operate (to KEEP people in the seat long-term).
The Honda GX program wasn’t “bad” per se, but there were inherent problems (cost to be competitive – i.e. run at the front – at even the club level; plus the changes in manufacturing specs of the engines over the years that made keeping the rule book up-to-date a real challenge) with the program that were masked somewhat by the fact that people were so heavily invested in the East.
The guys in the East who have made the switch to the LO206 that I’ve spoken to have unanimously agreed that the LO206 is a better program (even if they were almost all skeptical at first, and many took a loss on their GX equipment).
October 31, 2014 at 12:29 am #36271
I raced this year at the Canadian Nationals in Masters L0206 and finished 3rd. The engine I used was brand new with one day of break in on it. I set my carb float level, pin height air screw. I set the valve lash just before qualifying. Engine ran great. For me most of my time was in the clutch. I used the Hilliard Flame which from the chart engaged around 2900 rpm. I ran the briggs oil at 16 oz.
For out of the box, you cant get better then that. Nationals was such a blast.
That weekend though I never worked so hard getting the chassis to be free. The Vega Blue are super sticky and if your kart is bound up you will never be fast.
The engines are more expensive in Canada and with the dollar, but this is the best class to get into. Our fall club race this year we had 28 guys and it was a blast.
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